In a special live performance in the Ring Auditorium at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC on October 7, 2010, Chartier premiered the first version of a new work: Transparency. This performance was inspired in part by the Hirshhorn’sColorForms exhibit, a collection of works by artists including James Turrell, Fred Sandback, and Olafur Eliasson, showcasing the use of abstract form to explore color’s evocative possibilities, from the purely optical to the metaphysical. Transparency is created from just some of the myriad delicate recordings made during his Fellowship of the Grand Tonometer, other large tuning forks, metal and wooden resonators, and wood organ pipes by Koenig and his contemporaries.
In late 19th-Century Paris, scientific instrument makers like Koenig were still referred to as philosophical instrument makers. It was possible for the public to visit their studios for musical/sound “séances”—gatherings in which the maker’s tools and materials would be presented for experiments and debate. Perhaps Transparency can be seen, in some ways, as a “sound séance” for a digital age.
Transparency (Performance) is intended as the first in a series of upcoming studio and installation works based on Chartier’s Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship recordings.